Letters, We Get Mail, XXV

*Date: * Sun, 10 Jul 2005
*From: * Dave K.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee — I think I'll get a beer?

Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2005
Subject: herbert spencer

hi orange.... i thought that herberts quote was in the first addition of the big book... perhaps one of those quotes you find right under the title of a story. i think it was the last story in the first addition and aa merely moved it into the second addition when it removed that story... what do you think? buck doggerel

Hi Tim,

Yes, that quote was first used by one of the other first edition Big Book authors, Ray Campbell in "An Artist's Concept", and then Bill Wilson kept it and re-used it in the appendix about spiritual experiences in the 2nd edition, while he threw away Ray Campbell's story.

The big question all along has been, did everybody from the 1st guy on down screw up? There is still an ongoing debate about that. An acquaintance has done a lot of research on it. He has published a paper at: http://www.geocities.com/fitquotation/ that concludes that the quote comes from somebody else.

UPDATE: That is a dead link now. A local copy is here: Survival_of_a_Fitting_Quotation.pdf.

And still, now I'm hearing that somebody else is saying that it is from "The Pathology of Trauma" by Herbert Spencer, 2nd edition, Edited by J.K.Mason, page 192.

I haven't been able to get my hands on a copy of that book to verify that. I'm at the point where I don't believe any of that stuff until I see it for myself, so I'll go see.

Have a good day.

== Orange

UPDATE: It turns out that Herbert Spencer never wrote any book titled "The Pathology of Trauma". That was just a red herring. See Michael's investigation of this, here.

Date: Mon, August 8, 2005
Subject: Thank you!

Dear Orange:

I can't thank you enough for your wonderful online book. My own AA issues are simply that I have acquaintances who are 12-steppers and the degree to which that vocabulary has seeped into the larger culture, including the workplace and even "spiritual" groups that may be otherwise of use. For me the big rocking importance of your work is the exhuming of this most important hidden cultural history, a turgid stream still flowing through the meme-pool, especially in the US. I feel that these pseudo-ideas and their polluted vocabulary provide the whole cloth from which to shape the face and form of Bertram Gross's "Friendly Fascism" here in the US.

The organizational morphing is of course fascinating (setting aside the AA spinoff) from the Oxford Movement to Moral Rearmament...and now Global Reconciliation? My "godparents" in my Episcopalian baptism were MRA enthusiasts. Well-to-do upper middle class, they would go on retreats at Interlaken I recall. I never learned much about it from them. It's wonderful to be able to place these things. (Did you ever hear of the Technocrats? I had a black sheep uncle who was apparently enthusiastic for them.)

Forgive me if I've missed a search engine (do you provide one?), but I would dearly like to re-find your fantastic AA/Buchman phrase list, now deeply embedded in the popular cant. It certainly reinforces my own superstition about never using any buzzwords in my own speech or writing. Some on your list were:

> "Let go & let God"
> "Get with the program"
> "Fake it til you make it"
> "Act as if"
> "When you point a finger at your neighbor, there are 3 fingers pointing back at you."
> "Sharing" i.e., public confession of Buchmanism
12-Steppers "Group Mind"

Many thanks for your fine work. It should be used as a Middle School text, honest! (BTW, you might enjoy Sankara Saranam's "God without Religion.")

Mary G. W.

Hi Mary,

Thanks for all of the compliments.

I had never heard of the Technocrats. I'll have to look them up.

The web site doesn't have a search engine yet, but I'm looking into that. That would be a great enhancement.

In the mean time, the two lists that you are looking for are:

  1. The Oxford Group / MRA slogans here,
  2. and the A.A. slogans list is here.

And the "Group Mind" thing first popped up in Buchman's MRA speeches here, and "group-think" is listed in the Cult Test here.

I'll have to check out that Sankara Saranam book. Thanks for the tip.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Tue, August 9, 2005
Subject: A suggestion or two...

Agent Orange,

Your website is impressive.

I admire your sticking to the tried and true debating technique of proving the inherent flaw or advantage.

I have been sober for almost twenty years. For eleven of it I have not attended meetings or had a sponsor. My latest period of "abstinence" has lasted about a year and a half and is much more deliberate than previous absences. I wish I could say that it was principled but it was really personality oriented. I just got sick of the crap dished out at the personal level. I won't say that I'll never return (especially after spending some time at your site) but it is increasingly unlikely.

Bill's demons always made him real to me and that genuineness served as an antidote to the urge to join others in his deification. I never went any further and put two and two together by applying rigorous logic. I understand now that I had been taught to do otherwise.

Your compiled research also satisfies my long-standing curiosity about the extent of the Oxford Groups on AA. I see the word sanity in Step Two completely differently now. I no longer have to try and resolve the dissonance between my AA experience, my school training and my personal recollection anymore. I was many things when I was introduced to AA but insane wasn't one of them.

Which brings me to my first suggestion: Stop saying Bill was insane. He was one sick puppy but not psychotic.

Hi Clay,

Thanks for an unusually cogent letter, and thanks for all of the compliments, and congratulations on your sobriety.

I admit that I am sometimes overly enthusiastic about calling Bill Wilson a raving lunatic, but there is lots of room for debating just how sane or in contact with reality he was.

A quick note about my qualifications: I was an Honor Graduate from the US Army's Behavioral Science course. Our textbook was the DSM-III R.

Narcissism is a personality disorder. Depression is an affective (i.e. mood) disorder. Bill's reality testing mechanism and ego boundary were quite intact. These two factors are essential in diagnosing psychosis, a thought disorder. He was mildly, yes mildly, delusional at times. Based on anecdotal evidence he may very well have been bi-polar. Altogether unpleasant but charming I'm sure.

Yes. That question just came up in another recent letter, where we were talking about the question of "Was Bill Wilson totally disconnected from reality, a completely delusional raving lunatic, or was he just coldly lying and manufacturing propaganda to promote his new cult?"' Look here.

I think that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Still, I have to ask, just what kind of a man, and what kind of a mind, makes up such outrageous grandiose lies for 20 years and foists them on sick people? I'm sure that Bill Wilson rationalized his behavior by saying that it was for the good of the alcoholics, but after 10 or 12 years of pushing A.A., he had to know its real failure rate. In fact, he did know it, and occasionally spoke of it, and yet he still went right on telling his grandiose lies about how wonderful A.A. was, and how wonderful he was, and foisting his con on sick people. What kind of a person is that? (I think that is characteristic of narcissism.) How can a sane man even keep a straight face while he raves that his cult is the greatest medical and spiritual development of all time?

Bill Wilson also didn't mind exiling dissidents and condemning them to death by alcoholism. See the story of Ed. What is such a total lack of compassion or concern for the welfare of others, if not one of the characteristics of a psychopath, or at least one of the characteristics of a narcissistic personality disorder?

My second suggestion: get someone professional to edit your pages. Tighten it up.

Agreed. I am still going back through stuff, trying to condense it and eliminate repetition.

That's about it.

I wouldn't overlook though, Bill's attempt to force mega-vitamin therapy on AA as more proof of his demented personality. In Pass it On it is described but minimized. Taken together with so much that was unrevealed by the book it amounts to much, much more than just "Bill being Bill".

Now that's an interesting subject. I haven't explored that much. I know about it, but never considered it important. I'll have to reconsider that.

Also, it would seem that investigating MRA regarding eugenics might prove to be useful. Race purity though selective breeding and the elimination of misfits was quite popular amongst the tony set Buchman courted. Not to mention the Nazis.

Oh yes. Hmmm.... That is a great subject. That is something that Paul Diener was quite aware of, in connection with fascist philosophies (look here, and search the page for the words 'untermensch', 'ubermensch', and 'Superman').

Thanks for your time.

Sincerest Regards,
Clay P.
Hutchinson, KS

Thanks for the letter. You make some good commments. And I wouldn't mind further exploring the whole issue of Bill Wilson's mind — narcissistic, delusional, psychotic, bi-polar, or just criminal?

And have a good day.

== Orange

[2nd letter from Clay:]

Date: Sat, October 22, 2005
Subject: Re: A suggestion or two...

Agent Orange,

Thanks for your reply.

My point about making a forensic diagnosis of clinical insanity for Bill hinged on the narrow, technical definition that involves the individual's reality testing mechanism and ego boundry.

Before starting my reply I searched out a current definition and found this:

*Psychosis:* In the general sense, a mental illness that markedly interferes with a person's capacity to meet life's everyday demands. In a specific sense, it refers to a thought disorder in which reality testing is grossly impaired.

Symptoms can include seeing, hearing, smelling, or tasting things that are not there; paranoia; and delusional thoughts. Depending on the condition underlying the psychotic symptoms, symptoms may be constant or they may come and go. Psychosis can occur as a result of brain injury or disease, and is seen particularly in schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. Psychotic symptoms can occur as a result of drug use, but this is not true psychosis. Diagnosis is by observation and interview.

Accordingly, I think it is quite possible to apply the "certifiable" label to Mr. W. G. Wilson.

However, Bill's grandiosity regarding the building of Alcoholics Anonymous remains problematic for me. Big things come from big visions. When you asked what kind of a man continues to tell promote himself and his organization as the greatest thing since sliced bread when the honest facts showed otherwise, I was instantly reminded of P. T. Barnum and his "Greatest Show on Earth". Of course Barnum wasn't selling recovery from one of the worst scourges of mankind. At any rate, at some point in the life of a large corporation or project someone has to have the eyes to see it as it will be, not as it is. Coupled wiith the energy to take the idea and implement it, great and sometimes terrible things can result. At times Bill lacked the physical energy but was always able to manipulate.

Maybe this will help illustrate:

In 1991 on a vacation to South Dakota I wrecked my car at Mt Rushmore. After getting my car towed into Rapid City I decided to take in a meeting. At that meeting I was invited to stay with some AA guys who shared a large house in town. As a result of that stay and through connections of one of the young men I got to go to the mountain that is being sculpted into a image of Crazy Horse. I got to meet the family who does this and go up to see the work first-hand. For years Korczak Ziolkowski blasted and bulldozed away at an entire mountain by himself and then with his wife, Ann. Now his ten children carry on. If you are unfamiliar with this amazing confluence of art and engineering, check out the Crazy Horse Memorial.

Thats one Big Vision.

For a long time, no matter where I was I considered my home group to be the North Kansas City Group. The membership list was pretty long. One day I went through it and realized that many members simply didn't come to meetings. I asked my sponsor about it and he said that many had just moved on and had built lives for themselves that didn't really include A.A. anymore. They weren't sore or disappointed, just gone. At the time I though it selfish of them, I couldn't understand how they did it. now I am one of them. I suspect there are a number of us. Ironically it was Bill who wrote in the Big Book about "returning to the mainstream of life". My sponsor told me that that was the point.

Take care and keep up the good work.

Clay P.

Hi Clay,

Thanks for the thoughtful response. I agree about that funny gray line between grandiose world-shaping plans and madness. There is also a similar gray line between entrepreneurs and con artists.

Way back, 20 years ago, during an earlier high-tech boom, a friend and I were discussing some of the con artist promoters we had met in the computer industry. I was asking, "What is the real difference between a bombastic con artist and an overly-enthusiastic promoter of a new computer venture (that fails)."

My friend answered, "Little or none. Whether the guy is a con artist or a brilliant entrepreneur is largely determined by the profits that result, which is sometimes just a matter of luck. The kinds of guys are the same."

I wondered whether my friend was a little hard on enthusiastic entrepreneurs.

Still, I can't help but feel that when somebody deliberately, calmly lies to sick people about what medicine or treatment might cure them of a deadly disease, that some very important ethical line has been crossed.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.

Date: Sat, October 22, 2005 3:49
From: "jt"
Subject: Thanks for shering.

I have no idea why you are so scorn by AA. But if it did not worked for you. Why dont you leave us alone and let us believe what we want to beleave. What is your gain I don' know and is not significant. To me it seems that you have wasted too much of your precious life minding some one alses bussiness. I hope that you never have to live the way that I did because of my alcoholism. And I wish the best for you I 'm a member of AA and I live and let live. Let our cult be our cult.If that keep us away from the vicious state of mind of alcoholism please let it be .

Respectfully jorge T.

Hello Jorge,

You are welcome to believe whatever you wish to believe. I have said many times that I don't care if some burned-out old alcoholics want to gather in church basements and tell each other that they are the chosen people of God. Such sad cases are irrelevant in the big scheme of things.

But where they go wrong is when they promote their cult religion as a cure for a life-threatening illness. That is quack medicine at its worse, and it kills people. It is morally wrong to produce a river of misinformation about A.A. and alcoholism, constantly bragging about how well A.A. works, when it does not work.

And those believers do not have the right to promote their religion by using the criminal justice system and health care system to shove more people into their meetings. That is both illegal and immoral.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.

Date: Thu, August 11, 2005
Subject: letter

I found your site to be very interesting and true. I found it while looking for a definition to the words "dry drunk," which were used in an advice column (Dear Prudie) today.

You are on the right track. My own (very recent) ex-husband was one of those who had to leave his family for the AA cult.
I never knew my husband as a full-blown alcoholic, but he declared himself one who was "off the wagon" shortly after we were married 10 years ago. He began to attend AA meetings.
He ultimately justified leaving his family because he was "actively drinking" at the time that he chose to marry and conceive one of his sons.
Therefore, these actions were not his responsibility.
The stress and responsibility of a wife and children made it too difficult for him to trust his future to God (i.e. spend his days whiling away the time creating art so he could stay sober, yet underemployed). The man used lines like "one day at a time" and "trust in God to provide" to rationalize his own compulsive credit card abuse and aversion to a savings account.
He also labeled many others as hopeless born alcoholics with a miserable future over which no one would have any control.
He is just like the people you describe on your site.
I should add that he also has an Ivy League education and two post-graduate degrees.

As you point out through statistics, many people are abusing alcohol because they have mental health problems. These people are not equipped to interpret and apply the 12 steps in a practical way. They will twist the dogma to rationalize the symptoms of their mental disorders — then their AA group will validate these delusions. These people are vulnerable to the AA cult. They may stop drinking, but they have only treated a symptom of their problem — not their disease.

Hi Kelly,

Thanks for a powerful and moving letter. Sorry to hear about your troubles. That sucks.

I don't know what it is going to take to put an end to such B.S., but I'd like to find out.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date: Fri, August 12, 2005
Subject: aadeprogramming

Hope this finds in you in good spirits.

Yes, it does, thanks.

Thought I would let you know I use a lot of your info in my Big Book Study group on Saturday nites. It drives a few nuts but what the hell. Almost 60 and I am still a disseminator of dangerous information and obsessed with AA history.

Now that is funny.

Just as a note I have been in AA for about 25 years now and my views have changed often and radically through the years. I tell newbies to read the BB to spot the BS at the tables including mine. I often suggest they disregard the 3 chapters to the wives, to the emploters and the family afterwards. I have reached the point where I do not really care if they stay but really do care that they start to get their lives in some sort of order whether it be AA, Smart, etc or by themselves. The BB state we are not a cure all and we know little. However the BB does say this is a program and a book about God and I make no bones about that.

Far out. Somebody who is into telling the truth. How rare, but how wonderful.

You previously had a link to download the whole site which I did and I was going to print it out til I discovered how many pages it was. That was when I truly recognized all the work and effort you have done in your site. As we say in AA ; what a dedicated "avocation!" Thank you truly. I am sure you have helped many who were having doubts whether AA was right for them or not.

Thanks for all of the thanks.

Yes, the archives are back. I just finally got back on line, and uploaded all of my accumulated improvements and expansions from about the last year. It's a major update. Now the web site is really huge — it went from 16 megabytes to 80. I went hog wild with a scanner and old books of photographs of the Oxford Group and A.A. history. Check out the new history of A.A. and the Oxford Group.

Once again, you can download the entire mess in one big collection of .ZIP files, (or .tar.gz Linux archives). But this time around, it is 11 files, not 4, and it's an 80-megabyte download.

The real reason I write however is I was wondering if you knew what happened to aadeprograming? I wanted to print out a few articles that I lost and the site seems gone. Reggaes (sp?) site also seems vanished. Do you know if Aadeprograming will be back?

Alas, I don't know what is up with Apple (aadeprogramming.com). I haven't had any communication with her in a couple of years. A few years ago, her web site disappeared for a while because she was tired of maintaining it, but she brought it back because of popular demand. Unfortunately, I don't have any email address for her other than her old email address at aadeprogramming.com, which of course does not work now. If I got in contact with her and got her okay, I wouldn't mind mirroring her web site. I have almost all of her old pages archived for my own collection. There is really some good stuff in there, and I would be happy to keep it on line. But I need to get her okay, so if anybody out there knows how to contact her, please let me know.

Thanks in advance

Bruce J.
Central boring wisconsin

You're quite welcome, Bruce, and have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Tue, August 16, 2005
Subject: Any chance of more information?

Dear Orange,

thank you for lifting the blinkers off of my eyes. Your site has been a revelation to me I was wondering if you had any current information about the splinter groups occurring within AA itself? Or if you had any further information about contemporary circuit speakers? I write with particular attention to:

  • Mickey Bush (A.A., N.A., C.A.) whose tapes and speeches are adding a cure-all aspect to the 12 steps; he often recites that he was diagnosed Manic-Depressive but the steps cured him of it, but not his desire to be a wannabe evangelist...

  • Wayne B. (Emotional Recovery) This is a sub-sect within A.A., started by Mr B. & makes A.A.'s even more slavishly consider the 12 steps 24-7.

  • The Road to Recovery: Another Sub-sect. Allegedly homophobic and anti-medication

  • Vision For You: Another Sub-sect. The original sect who the above broke away from.

  • Joys of Recovery: Again a sect within a cult...

Your research & documentation has been educational and life saving for me and I hope that you could continue your researches into A.A. today that is fragmenting and forming separate cells within the entire organisation. I know that the situation in the states is more profound than in Europe but it is an almost certainty that this trend of splintering will continue as is the nature with all social groupings e.g; religious/political groups. People need to be warned of these fundamentalist AA splinter cells before we start seeing liquor stores and bars being targeted by suicide bombers. I joke and exaggerate but 10 years around AA has taught me not to put anything past them.


Hi Oliver,

Thanks for the letter and all of the compliments, and the heads-up. This is all news to me. I had not heard of those sub-sects before, but I shall strive to learn more.

But somehow, I am not suprised at all. I've been wondering if that would happen. It seems like it is a natural development in the life cycle of many cults, just like you said.

I was just reading a book about Amway that described the same kind of thing happening in Amway, right down to the super-star leaders controlling sub-sects and making huge amounts of money by selling tapes on how to succeed. In fact, they made most of their money by selling tapes and books about how to succeed at selling soap, rather than by actually selling the soap.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Tue, August 16, 2005
Subject: let it go already...

Wow, for someone dismissive of AA, you sure seem to spend a lot of time and energy writing about it.

Hello, DA,

Yes, I have sunk a lot of work into this web site. Can't you honestly figure out why? Haven't I said why enough times?

By the way, I will "let it go already" when you do. A.A. has been foisting its particular brand of voodoo medicine on sick people for 65 years now. Don't you think it's time for A.A. to "let it go already"?

At the end of your introduction, where you finally get down to brass tacks as to why you're doing this:

"I just can't help but think that there must be some better way to handle such problems than a method that is obviously not working, the currently-used 12-step program. I can't help but think that a lot of people might be better off if they got some other treatment or therapy besides cult religion and voodoo medicine."

'Obviously not working' is a pretty broad statement, no? Have you talked to every person who's used AA's 12-step program to stop drinking?

That is bad logic, very bad logic. You assume that everybody is clear about causes and effects, and what caused them to quit drinking and what didn't, and that they will accurately report results. Not so. People are routinely fooled by quack medicine. Read Dr. David Duncan's story of how some quack doctors ran a fake kidney treatment clinic for years, and lots of the quacks' patients insisted that they had received "excellent" medical treatment.

I was just over at the Scientology newsgroup, and the usual crazy true believers over there were insisting that Scientology is the cure for everything, and that it really works well, and is just the most wonderful organization. Heck, if you ask Tom Cruise, he will tell you that Scientology is the only valid cure for alcoholism — you should go to Narconon and let them mess with your mind.

Do you really believe that Tom Cruise is right?

If not, why not?

Why would you believe some A.A. members when they say that the Twelve Steps work great for quitting drinking, and not believe Tom Cruise when he says that Scientology works great for curing all of your mental disorders, including alcoholism?

What it all comes down to is this: You don't figure out whether medicines or treatments work just by asking the patients if they like the medicine, or by asking them if they think that it works. You compare the results from a group of patients who got the medicine or treatment with the results from a similar group of patients who did not get the treatment, and see what the differences are.

  1. If the group that got the medicine or treatment does better than the no-treatment group, then you know that the treatment is doing something good.

  2. If the outcome of the two groups is the same, then you know that the medicine or treatment does not work at all, and does nothing good. The treatment is ineffective.

  3. If the group that gets the medicine or treatment does worse than the no-treatment group, then you know that the medicine is actually poisonous and is harming the patients.

That test has already been done with Alcoholics Anonymous, repeatedly, and the results were always number 2 or 3 — either no better than no treatment, or really bad results from A.A. treatment of alcoholics, like increasing the death rate, increasing the rate of binge drinking, and increasing the rate of re-arrests for public drunkenness. Read the file on the effectiveness of the 12-Step treatment.

As for the rest of the paragraph, that's your opinion — just as AA didn't work for you, what you prescribe may not work for others. What is your idea of 'better off' any way? Dry for a day? A year? The rest of one's life?

You are twisting my words and grossly misquoting me. I never said that A.A. did not work for me. I said that I never did the A.A. program at all. I have never done the Twelve Steps, I never had a sponsor, I don't believe in the Big Book, and I don't believe in Bill Wilson or Doctor Bob. Nevertheless, without any A.A. "help" at all, I have almost 5 years clean and sober now. My 5th-year anniversary is coming up in just 3 weeks. So my program is working just fine, thank you anyway.

I was tempted to join A.A. and just throw my logical thinking mind into the trashcan and become a babbling giggling mindless true believer, just so happy to be in A.A. and N.A., but I just couldn't quite do it. I was too aware of what was going on. I could see that the real cost of joining and working the program was to become a phony — Fake It Till You Make It and Act As If.

You are also attempting to use an Escape via Relativism — "maybe one thing works better for one person, and maybe another thing works better for others..." to try to assert that A.A. works for some people.

Nope. That's bad logic and just another attempt to claim that A.A. works, which it does not. A.A. boosters routinely point to a few people who quit drinking because they decided that they really wanted to live, and were sick and tired of being sick and tired, and then A.A. falsely claims that it "made them" quit drinking. Wrong. A.A. cannot claim all of the cases of spontaneous remission and declare them to be proof that "A.A. works". Remember that the "no-treatment" group of people who just do it alone gets just as many or more successes than A.A. does. A.A. simply does not increase the amount of sobriety in this world.

Now, what is my idea of 'better off'? How about clean and sober for many years? Like 5 or more? Or better yet, sober for the rest of your life? I think that is better off. Does A.A. cause that? No. A.A. produces no better a success rate than going it alone and getting no help at all.

It seems to me that your mixing the treatment industry, public health policy, the 12 steps, Bill Wilson's life, the actions of some people, religiousity, and I guess some antiquarian ideas of the Oxford Group into a tarred-brush condemnation of anyone who tries AA.

Again, wrong. Again, you are twisting my words and misrepresenting my statements. (That is the standard propaganda trick of Misrepresent Your Opponent's Position.) I do not issue a blanket condemnation of everybody who goes to an A.A. meeting seeking something that might help them. I condemn the A.A. organization, the A.A. headquarters, the program, the 12 Steps, the bad theology, the Big Book, the deceptive and dishonest A.A.-boosters and propagandists, the corrupt money-grubbing 12-Step treatment centers, coercive recruiting, deceptive recruiting, Frank Buchman and his lies, his Oxford Group cult, and Bill Wilson and his lies, but not the alcoholics who are sincerely trying to save their own lives.

The alcoholics are the victims of con artists like Frank Buchman and Bill Wilson, not the villains. The alcoholics are also the victims of the old-timer A.A. recruiters and propagandists who continue to push that 12-Step routine even though they have many years of experience in seeing the program fail, and know full well that it doesn't work. I am not into blaming the victims.

So you ran up against a few kooks, egomaniacs, pervs, and downright nasty folks. Guess what? You'll find those types in any group, and it seemed like you let this particular batch really get under your skin, enough to devote many MB of web space to denouce and entire social movement. That's a sweeping generalization if I ever saw one.

Now that is the standard alcoholic's trick of Minimization and Denial. You are also using the propaganda trick of Divert Attention Away From the Point: "It isn't A.A. that is wrong; it's just the nuts and kooks who go to A.A. that mess things up."

Again, you are trying to misrepresent my position. I criticize Bill Wilson and the Big Book and his demented theology and his lies and his worthless 12-Step program, but you try to claim that it's just that I didn't like some of the nutcases that I encountered. There is a lot more wrong with A.A. than just some bad counselors or a few kooks.

Oh, and now you are blaming the A.A. members for A.A. being bad.

I am not into blaming the victims, but A.A. is. A.A. blames the victims at the start of every meeting, where they read from the Big Book, page 58, which says that reason that the 12 Steps don't work for people is because those losers are "...constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves... They seem to have been born that way..." That is blaming the victim, even while Bill Wilson also, in a slick piece of double-talk, declares that it isn't their fault. It isn't their fault because they were born that way, but it is their fault that the 12 Steps don't work on them, because they are hopelessly defective. (Bill sure isn't going to say that it's the fault of the 12 Steps, now is he?)

By the way, Alcoholics Anonymous is not a "social movement" any more than Frank Buchman's cult religion was. You haven't even changed the phrases or the language from what the Oxford Group used to grandiosely describe itself. Haven't you noticed that? A.A. really is Buchmanism.

If you investigate further, I think you'll find AA members (or whatever they call themselves) of all hues, dispositions and stripes. Yes, from the jackasses you encountered, to those for whom this other — often overlooked — AA slogan is much closer to their hearts: "To Thine Own Self Be True."

— From a happy 12-stepper, sponsor-free and sober

Yes, there are A.A. members of all stripes and hues, and I have in fact said so repeatedly. And that has nothing to do with the 12-Step program being a complete hoax promoted by a lunatic — Bill Wilson.

You are again trying to divert attention away from the point. I am criticizing the ineffective and harmful A.A. program that fails to cure alcoholics, and you keep trying to change the subject — and shift the blame — to some of the people who are going to A.A. meetings this week.

Basically, you are just trying to proclaim the old A.A. slogan,
"The program is perfect; it's just the people who are imperfect."
Well I'm not buying it. The A.A. program is fatally flawed, and useless, and even downright harmful.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.

Date: Wed, August 17, 2005
Subject: Interesting

Agent Orange,

My name is Mark H. and I am a member of AA and have been for the last nine months. Your 'website' was brought to my attention by another AA member in a joke during a meeting. I consider myself an open minded person who likes to get all the facts before making a judgement on anything. I am not going to go into my whole life story, however the long and short of it is that I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, left when I was twenty, drank alcoholically for 8 years whilst trying literally every drug available. I was homeless, jobless, worthless and hopeless. I have nothing and no attempt to quite any of my vices worked ever....... and believe me I tried. I have a family member who was fortunate enough to find AA and has been clean and sober for 7 years, this amazed me as this member of my close family was close to dying so I am grateful for AA for there part in that person still being in my life.

Hi Mark,

I am glad that you are feeling better. But you are really confusing cause and effect there. You assume that somehow A.A. made you quit drinking, rather than that you did the work yourself.

Answer this: Why didn't you go to A.A. eight years earlier? You could have saved yourself a whole lot of suffering if you had, it seems. So why wait so long before going to A.A. and quitting drinking and getting your life together?

The answer is: You didn't go to A.A. earlier, or quit drinking and doping any earlier, because you were not ready to quit yet. You didn't want to quit yet.

Only when you had suffered enough that you were convinced that you really wanted to and had to change your life did you quit drinking and doping and also go to A.A..

You say that you tried to quit earlier. No you didn't. You only thought you wanted to quit, but you didn't really want to quit. You just wanted the pain to stop. You went right back to getting high as soon as the urge hit because you didn't want to quit then.

But when you were REALLY convinced that you had to quit, and wanted to quit, then you did. You also coincidentally went to some A.A. meetings, and some of the people there fooled you into thinking that you were quitting because of them.

Seeing the change in that person and the utter powerlessness of my own life as far as alcohol and my other addictions is concerned led me through the doors of AA. This was the best decision of my life (if you could call my existence a life) I haven't touched a drink or a drug for 9 months a for that I am grateful. I am a 28 year man who was incapable of showing my feelings because I had no concept of emotions but upon reading some of your website I was over come with sadness that someone could dedicate so much time to bad mouthing, running down and generally making derogatory comments about a fellowship that so many people rely on, value and accounts for a large portion of there ability to keep away from alcohol something which they were unable to do before they found the AA rooms.

What makes me sad is seeing friends die from quack medicine and cult religion.

I don't envisage you putting this letter on your website due to the fact that it's content is upbeat and pro AA but I have to say that just writing it has made me feel a whole lot better and made me realise that I have a choice today as to whether I let narrow minded, negative people affect my day or not, and my decision is, not!

Believe it or not, I really do not practice censorship unless it's really necessary. I am a firm believer in freedom of speech (unlike Yahoo). If you had bothered to read the letters files you would have seen a lot of pro-AA letters. If you look in the last file of letters or so, you will soon see this letter, too.

If I have a problem or resentment against someone, my sponsor and other people in AA tell me to pray for the bastard so rest assured that you will be in my prayers for sometime to come.

Such language: "Have a resentment"... "If you have a resentment, then there is something spiritually wrong with you."...

That is just such standard A.A. cult-think. I can't even estimate how many times I've heard that particular bit of thought-stopping nonsense. That is the kind of stuff that A.A. puts out that really cripples people. (Don't feel your feelings, and Don't trust your own mind.)

  • Do you really think that there is something wrong with being angry at a criminal who hurts people?
  • Would you really be at fault if you got angry, perhaps even a bit violent, if you discovered that a quack doctor was poisoning one of your children?
  • Would you just sit on your duff and be "Serene and Grateful" while a thug raped your wife?
  • Would you just smile while someone foisted a cult religion on one of your children?
When is it okay to "have a resentment"? Never?

Get back to a meeting.

Mark H.

Now why on earth would I want to "get back to a meeting", other than maybe to pick up a five-year coin?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date: Sat, September 3, 2005 2:41 pm

Hi, am really enjoying your website and it has saved my sanity! AA in the UK is a limited company ( a bit like Inc in USA and I understand that AA is AA Inc in USA) but when I did a search it did not show up. So I'll ring Companies House (where limited companies are registered and find out more.) I want to see their accounts.

Hi Frank,
Thanks for the compliments.

Yes, in the USA, A.A. is actually two corporations, one for-profit, and one non-profit: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. is the profit-making publishing house, and the General Services Organization is the non-profit. The last I heard, all of the stock of the for-profit corporation is owned by the non-profit, so the money flows towards the non-profit. Both are New York State corporations.

If you find out anything of the finances of the English companies, I'd be interested in seeing it, just out of curiosity.

The pressure to join AA from my group facilitator is strong. He himself is a member. I could go on but you know all the rubbish that happpens in AA meetings.

Frank Wood

Yep. Thanks for the note. Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Wed, September 7, 2005
Subject: A. Orange... I love you, Sir. :o)

Hi, Without getting all long here.... I'm glad you are back online. A couple weeks ago, I noticed that your site was shut down, for lack of money-maint. I knew this most important site would return.

Hi Andy, Thanks for the letter. Yes, it was just a hassle with the domain name registrar. Can you believe that they would not take cash, and had to be paid with a credit card number? I begged them to take the money for a month, and they just wouldn't do it. Too wierd. Anyway, that is taken care of. And next year, I'm going with a different name registrar.

The last couple-few days I've been looking for info about the shutdown of the site... I start looking, and then just start reading... as always; straight-away jumping from icon to subject to another icon... God, I love your site Orange!

Thanks for all of the complements.

Try to publish this extensive study in book-form, Sir.... the Whurld needs to know. I've read alot about AA, and finally found this site a couple years ago.

I keep thinking about that, but the problem is that paper just doesn't make it any more. The links don't work. I find that I really like writing in the HTML format. And then updates are impossible if you just print it on paper. I'm not really done with this yet. There is a lot more to do, eventually.

I hope you are well. These days of late, I'm not. When I was sober and happy, I read about AA, and a couple months ago finally found, and could define my "Higher Power." It was right in front of me for about 7, of my 8 months, 10 days... that being; reading about the founding of AA, and all the bullshit since. I read The Small Book a couple times, and knew I was in the wrong program at that point. My sponsor's sponsee told me at a meeting one night that Tom was the guy slapping "the woman" around for sex, and that he was drinking again. My sponsor gave me a dose, saying: "I can't sponsor you anymore.... I have a job .. I'm going to in a couple weeks. Walks away, and comes back saying: "tell Tom (my friend in recovery) ((that he was also sponsoring)) that [I] need to tell him that [H]e can't sponsor him anymore either.


Where my friend and I were at this time, we had been reading more about AA than the Big Book, and let me tell ya....a lot of "the Managers" didn't even want to try discussing with us what we had already learned about this nutzoid cult.

AO, what pisses me most-off about AA, is what I've read about the US court system pushing this inept program on ppl in trouble with the law, and the un-constitutionality of that process.

Yeh, that is one of the things that really bothers me too. It might not be so bad if it actually worked, but when you combine total failure with obnoxious cult religion, it's hard to see how sane people could promote such a thing. I think that to a great extent, the judges and politicians simply do not know what it really is.

A.A. runs a great publicity machine and constantly cranks out a stream of deceptive propaganda and plants favorable plugs on TV in The West Wing and ER and Hill Street Blues, and has most people thinking that A.A. is a really good organization that has helped millions of people to overcome alcoholism. So, I keep saying my piece, trying to get the truth out there.

Cheer up, obviously somebody is reading this and learning something, because my generous ISP who has been hosting this for free for four years now wants to get paid for the bandwidth usage because it has gotten so large — now over 4 gigabytes a month of downloading, and rising. Somebody is doing a lot of reading.

Orange, I hope you will respond to this note....you've done great work. (today, I read, as I recall, Letter 7. (Pitch Black) What a retard.... lmao (you shouldn't have entertained him as long as you did.... lmao)

Yeh, but where else could I get such a great example of cultish thinking? That guy was in a class by himself. I mean, I just couldn't make up stuff that twisted.

You keep-up the good work, Sir. (ma'am?)

It's a guy, and thank you.

I wrote you a long letter a couple months ago.... didn't get it finished, then lost it, to finish.

Sure would like to get in contact with you, preferably not with your immediate site here.

I don't want to know who you are, and never would even consider inquiring. Your studies, and the best book I've ever read about AA was, AA: Cult or Cure?, Bufe (2nd Ed.)

AO, you stay anonymous...for all of us, okay? :o)

Andy... a friend indeed. :o)

Okay, thanks for all of the complements, and have a good day.

== Orange

*Date: * Thu, 15 Sep 2005
*Subject: * Birth of Big Book I & II

Kind Sir,

I find your /Orange Papers/ presentation of the provenance of Works Publishing, One Hundred Men, the financial records &tc. very interesting and at least on the face of things have no reason to believe or disbelieve the entire account.

I've read most all the published accounts, i.e., most or all of what you cite in your bibliographic notes ('cept the daughter of Dr. Bob book, /Children of the Healer/, I think it's called), including Matthew J. Raphael, Kurtz, Hartigan, /Pass It On/ &tc. ... and I may have read the Dick B. /Akron Genesis/, too. I'm still reading Dr. Bob & the Good Oldtimers.

I'm discouraged that your section called Birth of Big Book II: An Analysis of Excerpts from "Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age" is "Author unknown," because there doesn't seem to be any way for an observer such as myself to "verify" whether or not the facsimiles of those financial statements et. al. are legitimate. I suspect that they certainly are. Is there some independent means to vouch for their authenticity?

I haven't any reason to challenge the anonymity of the author of An Analysis of Excerpts from "Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age" But It would be nice to have something a little more concrete, in terms of getting all that available for public consumption, with more easily "verifiable" references/footnotes, I mean.

I suppose anybody can publish anything they want, but your Big Book I & II seems to be *the most radical departures* from the commercially available "historical" record in your entire on-line book. Again, I have no reason whatsoever to differ with the /factual/ accounting you've given/reproduced — I /suspect/ it is accurate. I simply don't know. I may or may not agree with some of your opinions, but that's not important.

Is there now, or will there be a more "accessible" rendition of the events surrounding Bill W.'s appropriation of authorship/stipends pertaining to the Big Book? Am I missing something? Web pages are OK, but is there something a little more tangible?

Also, the following hyperlink is dysfunctional: aapubliccontroversy.com

I'm curious about smoothing else. Henrietta Seiberling says, "His hand 'writes' dictation from a Catholic priest, whose name I forget, from the 1600 period who was in Barcelona Spain." Now that obviously isn't the St. Boniface who Bill W claimed "channeled" him portions of the 12&12. Wilson's practice of spirit mediumship is there for all to see in /Pass It On/, and the Boniface issue is covered to some extent in /The Soul Of Sponsorship/. I think you bring that up in your Papers. But this reference of Seiberling's to "channeling" is what some of us would like to have much more information about, including more firsthand accounts, letters &tc.

I should also mention that the reproduction you've provided, Original /Big Book/ assignment of copyright to Works Publishing, Inc. document. <https://www.orange-papers.info/images/orange-BB-cpyrite3.gif> is too small to be legible.

I hope you might find a few moments in the not-to-distant future to answer my question(s) RE authenticity. I'd be grateful. I don't know exactly how I might repay you, but it never hurts to ask.


Hi Paul,

Thanks for the letter.

You have brought up a very good subject — how to verify history, and how to ferret out the truth.

You asked about the facsimilie of the financial statements, whether there was "some independent means to vouch for their authenticity?"

The answer is no and yes... That is, the Alcoholics Anonymous headquarters refuses to open the historical archives to anyone except bona-fide pro-A.A. propagandists who can be trusted not to tell the truth about what they find in there. The A.A. leaders would not even let news teams from ABC or NBC look at the records in the archives. That alone tells you a lot about the "rigorous honesty" and "spirituality" of the A.A. leadership.

Let me clear up some confusion there:
You mentioned, 'the anonymity of the author of An Analysis of Excerpts from "Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age"' That original author (who really is unknown) simply extracted quotes from the book 'A.A. Comes of Age', and criticized them. That is what got me started on that line of thought, because he had opened up quite a can of worms.

I collected all of the supporting documents — the financial records, stock prospectus, stock certificates, copyright form, and other supporting documents — from several other places, including from the now-defunct web site www.aapubliccontroversy.com. And there was a different "anonymous" who obtained and published the financial report from Works Publishing, Inc., June 1940.

Unfortunately, I don't have any absolutely iron-clad way to verify them, like producing the originals in a court of law.

But we can do a pretty good job of verifying them by double-checking a lot of known facts, and seeing how well that alleged financial report correlates with established and verifiable history.

  1. We know that Charlie Towns invested a lot of money in the Big Book publishing project, and was very unhappy to hear that somebody extravagantly spent all of the money before the book ever went to the printing press.

  2. Many other people invested too.

  3. We know that Bill Wilson, Henry Parkhurst, and Ruth Hock sat in a little office and put together the Big Book back in late 1938 and early 1939.

  4. We know that many of the items in the list of expenditures are unquestionably true because they are verified by several other sources of information, like the books Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age and PASS IT ON.

    • We know that Henry Parkhurst got $200 for all of his shares of stock in the publishing company, disguised as getting $200 for his furniture.

    • We know that Bill Wilson did a multilith printing (like mimeograph) of the Big Book, and the financial report lists that item and says that it cost $165, which is a believable number.

    • And of course they had to pay Cornwall Press $2414 for printing the book.

    • The $731 for mailing and advertising is partially explained by Bill's claim that they spent $500 to send a postcard to every doctor east of the Mississippi before the Gabriel Heatter radio broadcast.

  5. We know that Dr. Bob's daughter Susan declared in a sworn affidavit to the courts of Germany that Bill Wilson stole all of the money and tried to steal the book too.

  6. We know that the copyright on the Big Book is invalid. Legally, AAWS does not have a leg to stand on. The original copyright was obviously fraudulent because Bill Wilson was not the sole author, like he claimed on the copyright application. Bill Wilson had also already published the book in multilith (mimeograph) form without a copyright notice, and sold it for $3.50, which again invalidated the copyright.

    Many people have now posted the contents of the first edition on their web sites, and AAWS is not suing or making a legal challenge to such apparent blatant copyright infringement. The reason that they don't sue, and won't sue, is because they will lose.

    When they lose such a court case, that destroys all of the foreign copyrights that are based on the mere assumption that the American copyright is valid. They would shoot themselves in the foot worldwide by taking a case to court. Their failure to even try to protect their copyright is in itself evidence of its invalidity.

    The A.A. leadership was quick to sue A.A. members in Mexico and Germany (and commit perjury against them) for copyright infringement when those foreign A.A. members "carried the message" by printing their own literature and giving it away or selling it very inexpensively, but AAWS won't sue anybody in the USA.

    As one judge said, "There are some things, like finding trout in your milk, that are simply self-evident."

  7. That June 30, 1940 financial statement of Works Publishing, Inc. says that the original A.A. members used a variety of media outlets to publicize the newly-published Big Book for free:
    The following have served to effectively publicize the book and the work during the past year. Gabriel Heater on "We the People" program, articles appearing in Liberty, Your Faith, Your Life, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times Book Review, Mr. Rockefeller's dinner for Alcoholics Anonymous, news articles on the recovery of Rollie Hemsley, catcher for the Cleveland Baseball Club, review of the book by Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, the Cleveland Plain Dealer series of articles, comment by Dr. Dilworth Lupton, the Washington Star series, the Houston Press, Texas newspaper series, together with many syndicated pieces.

    Those things can be verified.

    1. When we search the New York Times historical archives, we find the fluff piece by Percy Hutchison, blatantly selling the book, the organization, and the "spiritual cure for alcoholism" while pretending to be writing a book review.

    2. The early A.A. members managed to keep Morgan Ryan sober just long enough for him to appear on Gabriel Heatter's "We The People" radio program and tell all of America how a wonderful new organization called "Alcoholics Anonymous" had saved him from alcoholism, and then Morgan promptly relapsed afterwards. That is well-known A.A. history.
      See the web page on 'How the book "Alcoholics Anonymous" came about' on www.silkworth.net.
      Also see the official A.A. history books PASS IT ON, pages 207-210, and Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, pages 174-175.

    3. The Cleveland Plain Dealer articles are famous.

    4. So is the dinner sponsored by Rockefeller.

    5. The newspaper articles about Rollie Hemsley are a matter of historical record, and we have copies of them. Even official council-approved A.A. books verify the story.

    6. Likewise, the TIME and Life articles are verified history.

    7. And with a little time, I can track down copies of most of the rest of them. That is pretty straight-forward sleuthing. (Readers, want to help there?)

  8. And so on, and so forth. Gradually, we can establish the validity of most of the items in that financial report — definitely enough to give it credibility.

  9. The level of true detail in that financial report surprised me. I wondered out loud whether the item where a "W. von Arx" was paid back $635 was true. I asked if that name was made up, and a hoax, and it was just Bill Wilson swiping the money. I received an email from Mr. Wallace von Arx III who informed me that the name was very real, and that his grandfather was Wallace C. von Arx, a banker in New York with Marine Midland, and a reputed alcoholic. Who would have imagined? If that financial report is a hoax, the level of detail is unbelievable. Who would have even known such an obscure fact? That was never mentioned in the A.A. history books. (I searched for it.)

    If that financial report were a fraud, who could have carefully fabricated such a coherent fraud?

    It would be a lot of work to fabricate such a hoax. And then to only post it on one obscure and short-lived web site? Why bother?

  10. So I end up concluding that the report is real. It's a matter of the weight of the preponderance of evidence.

There seems to be some confusion over the image of the copyright. You said that the image "https://www.orange-papers.info/images/orange-BB-cpyrite3.gif" was too small to be legible. There is no "images" subdirectory, so I don't know where you got that reference from.

The copyright form is orange-BB-cpyrite.gif, and orange-BB-cpyrite2.gif (back side), both of which are quite large and very easy to read.

The image "orange-BB-cpyrite3.gif" is the document where Bill Wilson sells the invalid copyright to Works Publishing Inc., and it is also large enough for easy reading.

About Bill Wilson "channelling" a Catholic priest "from the 1600 period in Barcelona Spain.":
I'd like to know more about that too, but we have only Henrietta's word for it. I haven't seen any other mentions of that particular item. Bill's "Boniface" is well known and is documented in the letters between Bill Wilson and Father Dowling, The Soul of Sponsorship: The Friendship of Fr. Ed Dowling, S.J. and Bill Wilson in Letters, edited by Robert Fitzgerald, S.J.. And we know about Bill using the Ouija board, and spirit rapping, and hearing voices and talking to ghosts. That is documented in PASS IT ON': The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, and other sources.

Tom Powers, who co-authored the book "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" with Bill Wilson, was a neighbor of Bill's in Bedford Hills, and often participated in the spook sessions at Bill's house. PASS IT ON describes that. And Francis Hartigan, Lois Wilson's private secretary, wrote another biography of Bill Wilson, and for it, he went and interviewed Tom Powers, and verified a lot of that stuff. See: Bill W., A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Co-Founder Bill Wilson, Francis Hartigan, 2000.

Susan Cheever also verified the spook nonsense in her book My Name Is Bill: Bill Wilson — His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous. And she was one of the true-believer "special people" who was allowed access to the A.A. historical archives.

About the word "channelling": Henrietta Seiberling didn't use that word. I did, because that is a fair description of the whole necromancy project. It didn't matter whether Bill was talking to ghosts while he laid on his couch and heard voices, or scribbled on a piece of paper, it was all channelling.

For more about Bill's occult dabblings, look in "The Heresy of the 12 Steps", here, and "The Funny Spirituality of Bill Wilson and A.A.", here.

But the description of automatic writing that Henrietta Seiberling gave us is unique. I too would like to read more about it, but alas, she's dead, and isn't going to tell us anything more (unless we get out the Ouija board and candles, and conduct a séance, and start talking to her spirit...).

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*     Heisenberg said, "I'm not really sure if    *
*     that even was Shr´┐Żdinger's cat.   I think        *
*     he might have used somebody else's cat..."  *

Date: Fri, September 16, 2005
Subject: Cult?

At last I have got your email.

Well, what can I say, except your website has given me the most encouragement to leave AA.

Are you still battling for the cause — the website seems to have not been updated.

Hi James,
Thanks for the compliments, and glad to hear that you are doing okay.

Now the web site is updated, finally.

It is a cult. It makes you loose your old self completely.

It made me feel very uncomfortable, and I feel for those who are still trapped into it.

There is only one flaw in your analysis: did Wilson actually intend to mislead the members — or was he sincerely trying to help, by the only means necessary?

Ah, thank you, thank you. You win the prize for most interesting question of the month.

I have pondered that question a lot, and have asked several times,
'The real question is, "Was Bill Wilson totally disconnected from reality, a completely delusional raving lunatic, or was he just coldly lying and manufacturing propaganda to promote his new cult?"'

Did Bill Wilson really believe what he was saying? Did he "drink the koolaid", as the expression goes? Was he "smoking his own dope"? Or was he clearly aware of the fact that he was exaggerating and lying?

Unfortunately, I cannot get inside his head to get a 100% certain answer to that question. I can't talk to the dead like Bill Wilson claimed to do, so I can't conduct a séance and ask Bill what he was thinking. I can only guess.

My best guess is that it's half-and-half. To some extent he did believe what he was saying — he really was narcissistic and delusional — and to some extent he knew that he was lying and exaggerating, but he felt justified in doing so "to help others". When Bill Wilson exaggerated how many new A.A. members there were, and Bill's secretary Ruth Hock corrected him, Bill said, "Oh, Ruth, you're spoiling my fun."

Like Nina Brown said,

Destructive narcissists categorized as "Manipulative" are particularly prone to use misleading statements and lies. Do they know they are lying? Yes. But, they feel they have the right to use any means available to achieve their ends.
Loving the Self-Absorbed: How to Create a More Satisfying Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner, Nina W. Brown, Ed.D., LPC, NCC, page 67.

Bill's fervent belief that he was justified in lying to get people into A.A. is itself a sign of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

That does, of course, create circular logic: It's okay to lie and exaggerate and deceive people about the real A.A. success rate in order to get more people into A.A., because A.A. is such a wonderful organization that has helped so many alcoholics.

There is no doubt that Bill Wilson knew full well what a failure A.A. really was, and yet he still went on promoting it for another 20 years, grandly proclaiming that it was a great success, even the greatest medical and spiritual discovery of the 20th century. What kind of a mind is that? What kind of a man is that?

Francis Hartigan, Lois Wilson's private secretary, reported:

During Bill's stay in Akron, he and Bob calculated their success rate to be about 5 percent, and among the few who seemed to catch on, not all of them were able to maintain consistent sobriety. The first edition of AA's Big Book, published in 1939, contains the personal recovery stories of many of AA's earliest members. Some years later, Bill made notations in the first copy of the book to come off the press, indicating which individuals portrayed therein had stayed sober. A good 50 percent of them had not.
Bill W. A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson, Francis Hartigan, pages 91-92.

If you only get 5% sober to start with, and then half of them eventually relapse, that is only a 21/2% success rate. That is total failure. And Bill Wilson knew that.

Likewise, Nell Wing, who was a secretary of Alcoholics Anonymous for 35 years, and Bill Wilson's personal secretary for many of those years, as well as A.A.'s first archivist, reported:

"There were alcoholics in the hospitals of whom A.A. could touch and help only about five percent. The doctors started giving them a dose of LSD, so that the resistance would be broken down. And they had about fifteen percent recoveries."
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, (1957), page 370.

And yet Bill Wilson still promoted A.A. as the greatest sobriety program of all time, the only thing that really worked. So was Bill a psycho or a cold heartless criminal?

It may be that AA works as a cult, but it was never intended that way.

That is questionable.

  1. Bill Wilson was very clearly aware of the fact that Frank Buchman's organization was cultish and authoritarian, and he said so.

  2. Bill Wilson saw how well Frank Buchman was doing with the cult religion scam, living a first-class lifestyle in palaces around the world.

  3. Bill planned to use Frank's religion as a cheap cure for alcoholism in a string of for-profit hospitals (rather than Charlie Towns's "belladonna cure", which Bill knew from experience did not work). Cult religion also had the advantage that it could be administered by unpaid amateurs; the belladonna cure required expensive doctors to administer.

    Dr. Bob very much liked the idea of a book. But when it came to paid missionaries and profit-making hospitals he was frankly dubious. Promoter that I was, I shared few of his fears. I felt that we would have to have money and maybe a lot of it.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 145.

  4. Frank Buchman's cult religion was always the heart of Bill's "spiritual recovery program".

  5. Bill often claimed that alcoholics were so bad that they had to all be bossed around by someone holier than them (like Bill), for their own good. Bill Wilson declared that those nasty alcoholics "didn't want to get too good too soon", and that Bill was the spiritual superior who had to lock those losers into contracts that they couldn't "wiggle out of".

  6. In chapter seven of the Big Bookthe recruiting manual — Bill Wilson openly unashamedly advocated the practice of deceptive recruiting to get more prospects into Alcoholics Anonymous.

  7. Doctor Bob and Bill Wilson also practiced coercive recruiting from the very first day of Alcoholics Anonymous recruiting — A.A. number three, Bill Dotson, didn't get any say in whether he got the "spiritual" cult religion cure from Bill and Bob.

  8. Bill Wilson also lied from day one. Falsification, rewriting history, reversal of reality, denial, hypocrisy — that's how cults work. Bill falsified everything from his own history ("stock broker") to the A.A. success rate ("thousands recovered", "RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail..."), to hiding the Oxford Group origins of everything that A.A. was.

  9. Bill may have suffered from delusions of grandeur occasionally, but he was also a very intelligent man who clearly understood how to manipulate people and how to use propaganda tricks to fool them into believing what he wanted them to believe.

  10. And then there is the issue of money. While Bill Wilson exhorted the other alcoholics to give up selfishness and self-seeking, and to labor anonymously for free with no thought of the profit motive, Bill stole all of the money for himself, and became quite prosperous by selling A.A. to the world.

  11. And then to put the frosting on the cake, Bill Wilson just had to seduce a lot of the pretty women who came to A.A. seeking help to avoid death from alcohol.

There is a lot of evidence that Bill Wilson really did intend A.A. to function as a cult.

Anyway, thanks for a great read — pretty damn funny as well.


(ever been to SR forums? Man would they hate to see you there).

SR forums? I don't know what they are.

Thanks for the compliments, and have a good day.

== Orange

UPDATE: I learned that the "SR forums" are Sober Recovery forums, a pro-A.A. forum where people repeat 12-Step dogma at each other.

[another letter from James]

Date: Thu, October 20, 2005
Subject: Thanks Orange

For the replies. Given me food for thought...


Where you will be hounded off like vermin.

I personally would love to see you thrashing it out over there — there is a lot of people "under the spell" of lunatic Wilson.

Take care — thousands of ex steppers are behind you.


Hi again, James.

I'll have to check out that forum, and see if I feel like another war this week. :-)

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "You go to war with the jokes you have, not the jokes
** you might want or wish to have at a later time."
**  == Our Secretary of Offense, Ronald McDumsfeld

Date: Thu, September 22, 2005
Subject: Thanks for your site

Dear Orange: I've been visiting your site for some time and I've read almost all of it over the past year or so. I found it through a link from a Web log. I notice you haven't have any updates recently, although there was a time when your site was down and then it was restored. Hope all is well. This is quite some work you have up on the Web and it goes far to help people who might be confused about 12-step programs.

Like W.C. Fields, I am reluctant to join any organization that would have me as a member. But I was in AA for four years. I'm grateful to have been sober for nine years this very week. I won't bore you with my tale of woe. You've been there and done that yourself and, judging from what you have posted, you must have had a tough go of it. You spent an awful lot of energy and time debunking the many myths of Bill Wilson, Bob Smith and the AA Amen Corner.

Here's why I left the group: It began to dawn on me that I got into something more than I bargained for when I started "in the rooms," as they say. After 18 months of sobriety, my self-diagnosed co-dependent wife decided to end our marriage. This occurred after we had had almost a complete year of great marriage during which time I was sober and going to meetings. She was going to Al-Anon on occasion and it seemed like we were getting better together. Suddenly, it all changed. She said she could see no future in our relationship anymore.

Perhaps foolishly, I allowed my sponsor — a trained professional, mind you — to counsel us in an effort to save our marriage. I realize now that a true professional in his capacity would have disqualified himself from this paid family counseling job. There is just too much of a dynamic here for it to work — too much at stake, and too many encumbrances in relationships to allow for trust and openness. But, blinded by the program, I had faith in his ability to help us heal our marriage.

Not only didn't our weekly sessions work, but I think the counseling made it worse and probably hastened the end of our relationship. There might not have been anything salvagable at that point, but we split up and I didn't drink. I recovered. She cried every time she saw me for a year afterward. I couldn't understand what happened between us and why it had to end. She couldn't ever say why. She left the area and has since remarried.

I continued to go to meetings. Almost exactly a year later, I began to date. I got involved with a woman who was outside of AA. I was honest from the start about my condition — arrested alcoholism. We hit it off. Another year went by and we got engaged. We married six months later and I moved from the area. Life has never been better.

I spoke with a former sponsor — one who sponsored me before the professional person had — who I had expected to congratulate me on my marriage and my new life. To my dismay, he expressed to me astonishment and disappointment that I had not sought his permission to remarry. He was utterly sincere. My marriage came after four years of sobriety, and roughly two years after our association as sponsor/sponsee had ended.

I moved to a new job to be with my new wife in a city about two hours away from where I had lived and had become sober. It was easy to disengage myself from AA. I just didn't go to meetings. I worried at first, having learned from AA that I was doomed to drink. But I had no desire to drink. Nor had I any desire to associate with people who wanted to run my life for me, people who by virtue of not drinking for longer periods than I had — and some who had just recently stopped shaking — seemed somehow superior to me and felt they had an obligation to to tell me what to do, how to think, what to feel. Yet they continue to say that they live one day at a time and are only a prayer away from a drunk.

I have one old AA buddy with whom I visit and communicate who understands how I feel. He is something of an outcast in his group — the people I left behind — but he told me one of the most profound things I remember: If I ever felt that I needed help, I knew where to turn — I knew my way back to the rooms. He doesn't think I am destined to fail merely because I don't spend time with other alcoholics. He knows and I know that if I end my sobriety, it will be because I have chosen to end my sobriety — to drink — and for no other reason. What a concept!

This is a truly sober thought, devoid of superstition, loaded language, cultish behavior or psychobabble or religious overtones. I think after 30 years of drinking, including 13 years trying to get sober through various programs and court-ordered AA attendance, and now nine years of sobriety, I know the stakes. I know what awaits me if I should drink. I don't want that life anymore.

I've tried keeping in touch with my old sponsor, the one who counseled me through the end of my marriage. He has chosen not to stay in touch despite several overtures on my part to maintain the friendship. I have left the group and he has nothing to do with me. So be it. I would graciously receive him if he should wish to contact me again, but I'm done trying to contact him.

I'm grateful that I had the experience in AA and the experience outside of AA. I met some good people in the group. There are times when the rooms are dominated by nut jobs. I have had AA control my life and I have wrested control back from AA and, despite it all or perhaps because of it, I'm a better person.

That's my AA experience. Feel free to use this or not, at your own discretion. Thanks for your insightful site.

By the way, I quit smoking cigarettes through hypnosis almost four years ago. Life has never been better.

— Jay V.

Hi Jay,

Thanks for the letter. Sorry to hear about all of your troubles, and congratulations on your success. It sounds good. And thanks for all of the compliments. And yes, I will use the story. More grist for the mill.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

Date: Sat, September 24, 2005
Subject: Misquoted after 5 minutes


Stumbled across your amusing site this evening. In your "Letters" section, you ask "Please tell me, which of my quotes from the /Big Book/ or 12x12 [/Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions/] is incorrect? "

Go to your section "Letters II". About halfway down, you misquote: # "At some of these [steps] we balked. We thought we could find a softer, easier way. But we could not."

The correct quote is: "We thought we could find an easier, softer way." (p.58)

Hi, Mike,

Okay, thank you. You're right. That was a typo. (In defense of myself, you might notice that I got it in the right order 20 other times in the web site. You might also notice that it does not change the meaning any.)

It is obvious you have found /your/ way. Self-righteousness is arrogance. Unfounded self-righteousness is abrasive. Sound familiar? You're the expert.

"But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven't got." (p.164)

Have a drink for me!

Mike C.

Well, your last line really says it all, doesn't it?

I guess that is what A.A. "spirituality" really comes down to.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date: Sat, September 24, 2005
Subject: cult

I really like your site. So much good info. Helps cement my decision to "leave THE GROUP" almost two years ago. Only after reading your site for the last couple of days have I been able to admit to myself that I was in a cult.

Here's a poem I wrote today that's probably not too good but very therapuetic. Thank you so much for your website. It means the world to me and I'm sure it has and will help a lot of people. sorry about the spacing. I couldn't fix it.....

Judge, judge away
Fanatical insect
You only think you are
Happier than I.
I have some of the same
Problems as before
But without your dark wings beating me
I can see clearly to fix them.
I feel sad sometimes
But I don't have to tell anyone
Until it passes
You're only acting as if.
And when I am happy
What sweet nectar!
No one buzzes around angrily
Trying try to ruin it for me.
Queen Bee
I learned some lessons from you
About what I don't want to be
And I stole some honey when I left.
I carried off sweet memories
Of beings who were still good
Dulcet-toned blossom ladies
Who your sting couldn't poison.
The Beekeeper is watching
And all will leave the comb before long
The worker bees get tired
Of carrying your sanity-load on their backs.
The Beekeeper is watching
And I don't have the nightmares anymore
You can mind your own beeswax now
While I wing thru the flowers.

Hi Rita,

Thanks for the letter, and congratulations on your escape from the cult. And thanks for all of the compliments.

(Oh, and fixing the spacing was no problem. (But then, I have magic tools.))

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Sun, September 25, 2005 6:55 pm
Subject: why so upset?

Why are you so against AA? Its a great program. Harmless. Free. Turns thieving, lying, angry drunks into law abiding, educated, honest people. I am one of them and my two brothers too. My dad and sister attended for a couple of years and chose different paths... no harm done.

You seem to have anger about AA. What's that about?


Hi Walter,

Thanks for the letter. In answer, I almost don't know where to start. So all I can say is, start at the beginning, at the introduction, and then go from there.

For just the shortest possible rebuttal, I would have to say that no, A.A. is not harmless or free. It costs some people their marriages, some their sanity, some their lives. And some people pay a fortune to a so-called "treatment center" that charges many thousands of dollars to foist ineffective 12-Step "treatment" on its victims.

Just read the web pages for the answers to all of the rest of your questions.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Tue, September 27, 2005
Subject: Your web site is very interesting and thought provoking..


I have been reading material and am interested in a few things if you have time. I have my own opinions about AA and such and wondered what was you motivation for the site. Did you try AA and come to these conclusions? Are you a sociologist?

I think the discussion is good overall — I bet you get a lot of "negative" mail from AA'ers.

Tom J.

Hi Tom,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the complements.

Essentially, yes, I did "try A.A.", and didn't like it. Actually, the correct wording would be "pressured into A.A. as a condition of not being homeless." The introduction tells the basic story. Also see the description of "bait-and-switch treatment" programs here.

About the motivation for creating the site, that is funny. I never set out to create any such thing. I was just going to write a 30-page essay about A.A. and what I saw as its failings and why it was inappropriate for use in treatment programs. I wrote such an essay. And then I added a little more, and a little more, and was appalled when it grew to 60 pages, and then 90. It used up so much paper to print out for friends who wanted a copy.

Then I found "Apple's" web site, aadeprogramming.com, and offered it to her. Together, we split it up into a bunch of web pages and added HTML formatting, and up it went.

Then I came up with more stuff and wanted to update the pages all of the time, but Apple didn't, so I ended up getting hosting on Yahoo Geocities, and put it there. It was there for almost 2 years and then somebody seems to have complained that they were "offended" or something, because Yahoo erased it all one Sunday morning without warning or explanation. Blitzed all of my email too.

So I was on Tripod for a while, but outgrew that, and ended up having to get my own domain name and web site, hosted by the generosity of Al Guevara at Tucson WebDesign. And here we are. What a long strange trip it's been.

So why do it? Well, I hope that getting the truth out might help somebody some time or other. A few people say that it has helped them, so maybe it's happening.

I am also hoping that maybe the treatment of drug and alcohol problems will eventually be improved. What is being done now is so bad that it can hardly be any worse. But I don't expect that things will get any better as long as some frauds and incompetents are allowed to monopolize the field. They don't want to give up the money, so they will continue to scream that their methods are great. So there is a lot of heat and smoke in this field.

No, I am not a sociologist. I was a biology major, but that was a long time ago.

And yes, I get plenty of hate mail. It's funny how many A.A. members have told me to go get drunk. But I'm not going to do it. I'm just stubborn enough that Hell will freeze over before I give them that satisfaction.

(So, wow! Do you know what that means? It some goofy way, A.A. *really is* keeping me sober after all!)

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date: Tue, September 27, 2005
Subject: Thanks


/I have enjoyed what I have read so far and will comment further when I have read more. Have you read "Liquor the Servant of Man" by Smith and Helwig copyright 1939 reprinted 1948 Garden City Publishing Co. good reference about the disease aspect of alcoholism.

Thanks again Dave/

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the thanks. I had not heard of that book before. I'll have to check it out.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Tue, September 27, 2005
Subject: Thank God...

...For the Orange Papers. You clever bloke you!

Stick to it Orange, your site saved my mind.

James in the UK

Hi James, Thanks. And have a good day.

Date: Wed, September 28, 2005
Subject: Hello & thanks

Dear Orange

I've been going to meetings of AA for 14 months and lately I've become tired of listening to the same thing over and over. I've being looking in the Web for people feeling as I do, "sick and tired" of AA's "spirituality" and slogans. Lately, when sharing about the so called Higher Power and telling that I didn't "hand over" nor "pray on my knees humbly", I was told by a couple of "old timers" to "fake it to make it".

When I first started to go to meetings I was starting to lose control of my drinking, I mean, blackouts, drink and drive,,, and I knew I had to do something about it. I chose AA because ACT (a British voluntary organisation to help/counsel to control addictions) were so fully booked that I had to wait several months to get an appointment.

Well, first it was OK, I saw people looking well, joking and I was very lucky as in my first meeting the chair didn't mention God nor the steps, he was a very down to earth guy. I stayed sober since I started (well, actually my first day in AA was my third without drinking at all) and the first months I felt OK, although I never read any literature, just some pages were enough to put me off, luckily. I guess I was so mentally fucked up after so many years of drinking like a fish that I wasn't listening to all the repeated shit.

The thing is that I'm glad to have read your opinions because AA is not for me. I can't be a believer without thoughts of my own and I don't believe any of the crap about "spiritual disease". I guess that AA can be OK for some people who are so fucked up that they don't dare to think or that they are alone and need to feel part of something. For me it was OK to put myself together but I think is a dangerous religious cult (Spirituality + God, whichever is your concept of Him = Religion, in my book), even if there are very nice people in the rooms trying to help others.

Just to finish, I find most dangerous to make people believe that if they leave the rooms they'll drink again inevitably and they'll die because it's proven that "alcoholism is a fatal progressive illness": Once I shared that it was illogical to talk about progressive in the sense that if you stop drinking the illness is still there "progressing", that if the alcohol was worst after some years it was because you were fucking older and your body couldn't stand it as well as when you were younger... Well, the old timers didn't like it much.

What I want is to stop drinking or maybe, in a future, control my drinking if I find that I matured enough. If I want spirituality, I can always take a trip or meditate...

Other thing that annoys me is the way that almost everybody in the rooms believe that the only cure for alcoholism is AA and never discuss any scientific trials or different ways of looking into the problem. They always say that they are the only ones who understand, that the doctors, philosophers, psychologists are all mistaken. Oh, God, and this is not a cult. They could fool me..

Sorry for the length and, please, stay there with your research which is so valuable.

Un abrazo cordial (Kind regards)

Armando (a Spaniard living in the UK)

Hi Armando,

Thanks for the letter and the story, and thanks for all of the compliments.

Naturally, I whole-heartedly agree with what you said.

The first thing I reacted to was, "...I find [it] most dangerous to make people believe that if they leave the rooms they'll drink again inevitably and they'll die..."

Yes, exactly. I often use the story of Dumbo the flying elephant as an analogy for belief in the A.A. program. Dumbo believed that he just could not fly without his "magic flying feather" that the crow gave him. One day, Dumbo lost that feather and went into a panic, and immediately fell from the sky, and nearly died before the crow could convince Dumbo that he really could fly without the feather.

Unfortunately, some alcoholics actually do crash and burn when they lose their "support system" because they think that they are powerless over alcohol. Teaching them that they can't handle life by themselves doesn't seem like it's doing them a favor.

You are absolutely right about the goofy concept of alcoholism "progressing" even while you are not drinking. It does not progress, other than the fact that you are getting older.

I actually did relapse once, 14 years ago, after 3 years of sobriety. And you know what happened? I started right back at the place where I had left off. It didn't take me very long at all — just one month — to build back up to the level of drinking where I was at when I quit. But I did not start up beyond that point. My tolerance was the same, and I wasn't any heavier of a drinker than I was when I quit. It took more years to get worse than that.

And in truth, you really are recovering during those sober periods. There is no doubt in my mind that my 3-year sober period back then is responsible for my good health now. When I quit this last time around, the doctor expected my liver to be a real mess. We were both pleasantly surprised when the lab tests came back and said that my liver was just fine. I know that those 3 years of letting it repair the damage and get itself back together before the next onslaught of alcohol kept it from being destroyed. So I was in fact really recovering from alcoholism during that period of sobriety, something that the A.A. people don't seem to like the sound of, for some odd reason.

I think that the whole idea of alcoholism progressing even while you are not drinking is just another grim fairy tale intended to scare the children into being good. Maybe that works on some people, but personally, I'd rather hear the truth.

Lastly, you said: "Other thing that annoys me is the way that almost everybody in the rooms believe that the only cure for alcoholism is AA and never discuss any scientific trials or different ways of looking into the problem. They always say that they are the only ones who understand, that the doctors, philosophers, psychologists are all mistaken."

Brother did you hit the nail on the head. That is one of my biggest objections to A.A., too. It is obvious that a lot of them just don't want to hear anything but their favorite superstitions. Their anti-intellectual prejudice and arrogance is monumental.

My favorite example of that is the almost unbelievable article where a true-believer A.A. member who happens to be a doctor tried to convince other doctors that they should just stop thinking scientifically and analytically, and just "come home" to Alcoholics Anonymous.

Oh, and really lastly, you said, "actually my first day in AA was my third without drinking at all".

Yes. Do you know how common that is? (I already had 2 weeks of sobriety when they shoved me into a "treatment program" that required that I go to A.A. meetings 3 times a week.) That is one of the things that reveals that A.A. is not causing people to quit drinking. People quit because they want to live; because they have come to the conclusion that more drinking is going to kill them, or ruin their lives, or end their careers, or wreck their marriages, or all of the above. And they are just sick and tired of being sick and tired. So people quit drinking, and then also go to some A.A. meetings to see if they can learn anything helpful there, and A.A. tells them that they are sober because of the A.A. program.

Even Nan Robertson, who was a real A.A. enthusiast and true believer, wrote in her book that most of the new A.A. members had already quit drinking. Check it out here.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Being surrounded by a group of people who keep telling
**  you that you are powerless over alcohol, and that your
**  will power is useless, is not getting "support".
**  It is getting sabotaged.
**  With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.

Date: Wed, September 28, 2005
Subject: A.A. Cultism

I am interested in knowing more about this theory of A.A. as a cult. I attended A.A. for many years, and felt really bad throughout most of that time. When I began to drink, suddenly the majority of the unconditional friends I had in A.A. just split. Although I don't believe that drinking is good for me, I feel better than I did when I was going to A.A.

I am also interested in the credentials and history of the writer, "A. Orange". Do you have an agenda?

Please respond.

Okay, Hi Jen,

Sorry to hear about the difficulties you are going through. I can sympathize. A.A. will certainly make you feel bad. All of the constant put-downs: "You are stupid, and selfish, and self-seeking, and just want to feel good. You are always wrong. You can't think right. You aren't really very spiritual, and on and on." I wrote a web page on that, The 'Us Stupid Drunks' Conspiracy

And I've heard so many times the story that all of the "true friends" who offered "unconditional love" disappeared the instant that someone started drinking again. It's like they are afraid that it is contagious. (Oh yeh, I forgot. It is contagious — it's called codependency — spiritual cooties that you get just from being in the same room as a "practicing alcoholic".)

You know, there is a third path, one that is neither A.A. nor drinking. They don't have to be alternatives (and they are not really alternatives, even though A.A. constantly says that they are alternatives). Just gleefully abstain from both alcohol and A.A. meetings. Enjoy sane clear-headed freedom without polluting your brain with either A.A. or alcohol. That's what I'm doing, and I like it.

As far as credentials go, and general history of the writer, I wrote all of that before; look here.

The idea of A.A. as a cult is examined in "The Cult Test", here. There is both a general test that is applicable to any group or organization that you might be wondering about, and then there is a set of answers for Alcoholics Anonymous. Note that you can bounce back and forth between the questions and answers by clicking on the numbers of the questions and answers.

Do I have an agenda? Yes, of course. (Doesn't everybody?) I have already answered that question before, so I'll just point you to the answers here. But note that it is not a "hidden agenda" — look here.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

Date: Thu, September 29, 2005
Subject: Bill Wilson page


I just read your page about AA and Bill Wilson, and I am just curious... what is your objective in this report? You seem to have gone to educated lengths to make what to you see is an obvious point..... but I fear I missed it. What are you getting at with this?


Hi Tony,

Thanks for the letter. I don't know which web page you mean — I've written a lot of them. But in general terms, what I am getting at is that I want to get the truth about A.A. out there —

  1. The fact that as a treatment for alcoholism, A.A. is a total failure.
  2. The fact that A.A. is quack medicine and screw-ball religion foisted on us by a nutcase — Bill Wilson.
  3. The fact that A.A. is not telling the truth about its success rate.
  4. The fact that A.A. is just another cult religion.
  5. The fact that it is illegal, immoral, and unConstitutional to force people into A.A. meetings, no matter how much somebody thinks it is for their own good.
  6. The fact that the treatment centers that charge money to foist A.A. on their patients are guilty of felony fraud.
  7. And the fact that there is a very busy propaganda machine that is manufacturing a river of lies and misinformation to promote Alcoholics Anonymous.

I guess that will do for starters.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.

Date: Thu, September 29, 2005

I don't represent A.A. or any group.

Sorry, I don't understand what you mean by failure rate. It's basically your choice, no one twists your arm and makes you stay in A.A. at least the groups I have been associated.

It's your choice

what do you want to do?

Hi Russell,

Thanks for the letter.

What I mean by failure rate is people go to A.A. and don't quit drinking. The A.A. program does nothing good for them. It even makes a lot of people worse off. It even makes some of them dead.

And a lot of people most assuredly do get their arms twisted to go to A.A.. Judges routinely sentence people to A.A. or N.A. meetings for drunk driving or drug and alcohol problems, or even for screw-ball things like pornography and indecent exposure. Read this.

And the so-called "treatment programs" almost always insist on A.A. or N.A. attendance (3 meetings per week, at least) as part of their program. The centerfold of the November 2002 issue of the AA Grapevine revealed that 61% of the current membership were coerced, forced, or pressured into A.A. by the criminal justice system or perversions of the health care system, and the A.A. organization does absolutely nothing to stop or discourage the coercive recruiting. They like it; they brag about it; it's where they get most of their new members.

And please don't be telling me that nobody "makes you stay in A.A. at least the groups I have been associated [with]." Really now; I'm not that blind. As if nobody has ever come to your meetings with a slip of paper that they *have to* get signed or else they go to jail...

A.A. IS NOT FOR alcoholics, oh no never was for the people that need it, oh know! It is for the people that WANT it. Growing up on a farm that had mules I had to water them, naturally you want them to drink but if they don?t want to you can?t make them.

Now that is the funniest statement I've heard in a while. A.A. is not for alcoholics? I think Bill Wilson might have something to say about that. And why do judges sentence drunk drivers to A.A. meetings if A.A. isn't for alcoholics?

It is actually the opposite of a Cult, it has no leaders. They usually ask 1 dollar donation for coffee and trivial expenses. Lots of groups say if you don't have a dollar then take one out of the basket,

Whether something is a cult is NOT determined solely by whether it has a charismatic leader, or whether they steal all of your money. See the cult test for a more complete list of cult characteristics.

A.A. had a charismatic leader — Bill Wilson, but he's dead now. That is not unusual. Lots of cults worship dead leaders, like Scientology, the Hari Krishnas, and believe it or not, some surviving members of the People's Temple still worship Jim Jones. And I hear that David Koresh still has some nutty followers too. The fact that the leader dies does not suddenly make a cult into a non-cult.

And some cults do steal all of their victims' money; and some don't. Ones that do or did: Jim Jones' Peoples' Temple, Moonies, and Scientology. Ones that didn't or don't: Heaven's Gate, David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, and Alcoholics Anonymous.

It doesn't discriminate against anyone for race, creed or color, belief or no belief in god.

Yes, plenty of cults are quite happy to victimize just anybody, regardless of their race, creed, color, sex, religion, or country of national origin.

The failure rate is stated in the book,

Oh no it is not. Bill Wilson lied like a rug, and declared that three quarters of the people sobered up — half immediately, and another quarter later.

Bill also wrote in the original manuscript of the Big Book that thousands had recovered, back when there were only between 40 and 70 A.A. members in the whole world.

CORRECTION: In the manuscript for the first edition of the Big Book, Bill wrote "more than one hundred men and women" recovered. In the second edition, Bill changed that to "thousands".

Now and then Bill did talk about people who relapsed and failed, but Bill always blamed them for failing to work the Steps correctly.

Bill often practiced scare-mongering and said that you will relapse like how this guy did if you don't do Bill's 12 Steps, but Bill never admitted that the 12 Steps don't work.

And sometimes Bill Wilson complained about how difficult recruiting was, how few people wanted to join A.A., but that was not Bill Wilson honestly admitting that A.A. had a horrendous failure rate, and that the 12 Steps didn't work at all.

Look here for an analysis of Bill's statements about the A.A. success rate.

it's not concerned with people that say it doesn't work, if you don't go then how can it work.

The problem is that even when people do go, it still doesn't work. Dr. and Prof. George E. Vaillant is a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., and he just loves A.A. and thinks that all alcoholics should be shoved into A.A. to get "an attitude change" by confessing their sins to "a high-status healer". Well, Vaillant set out to prove that A.A. works. He spent many years shoving A.A. on his patients at the Cambridge-Sommerville [Massachusetts] Program for Alcohol Rehabilitation (CASPAR), and he tracked his first 100 patients for 8 years. He found that A.A. was a total failure that just increased the death rate. See his report here.

Do you have Alcoholism?

Now that is a loaded question. How do you define the word "alcoholism"?

It's just like the word "alcoholic". A.A. uses three different definitions for the word, and gets them all mixed up, which really confuses the issue. The definitions are:

  1. An alcoholic is someone who habitually drinks far too much alcohol.
  2. An alcoholic is someone who is hyper-sensitive to alcohol, almost allergic to alcohol, perhaps a genetic alcoholic; someone who cannot drink even one drink or his drinking will spin out of control and he will become readdicted to alcohol.
  3. An alcoholic is an insane sinner who is full of disgusting character defects and moral shortcomings and resentments and barely-contained anger, and is a prime example of self-will run riot and instincts run wild and selfishness and self-seeking and the Seven Deadly Sins, although he doesn't think so... etc., etc., ...

When I call myself an alcoholic, I usually mean definition 2, and only occasionally definition 1, but never definition 3.

  1. By definition 1, I stopped being an alcoholic five years ago.
  2. By definition 2, I will always be an alcoholic.
  3. By definition 3, I was never an alcoholic. I was always a nice drunk. People liked having me at their parties because I was so much fun to have around when I got high. (But, as one friend said, "Even nice drunks die of cirrhosis of the liver...")

So you tell me what you think the word "alcoholism" means, and then I will tell you whether I've got it.

If so if you don't want it for yourself, then ask yourself this, if you have children and they become or are Alcoholic then would you not let them try A.A. as a treatment. There is absolutely no one that I love or anything that I care more for than my children. If they become alcoholic I hope they find the doors of A.A. and WANT it, if not they may or may not make it. If they want to explore alternative treatment objectives I?m cool with it good luck, however if it doesn?t work the doors of A.A, are always open and it?s free.

If my children had an alcohol problem, I absolutely would not send them to Alcoholics Anonymous, not any more than I would send them to Scientology.

By the way, A.A. is not free. They want your will and your life (that's Step 3), and they also want your mind and your soul.

You can't trust everyone in A.A. nor can you trust everyone anywhere on the face of the earth, but some of them you can trust completely. There is a bond between some of the members and I that is wonderful. A drug alcoholic consular put it to me this way when I ask him if A.A. was a cult think, think, think, I have thought and

Yes, you can often get smoozy feelings of brotherhood in a cult. Unfortunately, those "true friends" will abandon you in a flash if you do something that they don't like. A previous letter complained about that just a little while ago.

I think that A.A. has kept me out of cults and saved me from the most dangerous cult of all. It's the cult of believing my own bull manure.

Again, we see how the cult teaches self-contempt. "You can't trust your own thinking." — Don't Trust Your Own Mind.

You should read about The Lizard Brain Addiction Monster before you decide that the "bull manure" is your own.

Thank you for your time
You above all people just strengthened my program.

Russell R.

You have a good day too.

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Being surrounded by a group of people who keep telling
**  you that you are powerless over alcohol, and that your
**  will power is useless, is not getting "support".
**  It is getting sabotaged.
**  With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.

Date: Thu, September 29, 2005
Subject: The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment

Wow, what planet are/were you living on??? How much spin can you put on a story to further your own agenda??? Obviously, with your superior education and that of your colleagues, you failed to read what you quoted from ?Alcoholics Anonymous? pg, 58. Actually AA has a success rate of 100 %. People may have a success rate far lower, because they refuse to get honest about who and what they are. AA itself never claimed to have a corner on the getting sober market, but, given your projections of possibly even a negative success rate, isn?t it interesting that there are millions of people right now who are remaining sober for lifetimes as the direct result of implementing the principles contained in the 12 steps???

Spontaneous remissions??? I hope you have one of your own

There is nothing worse than an educated person who?s ego takes him/her into territory that reveals the reality of their ignorance. What a waste of tuition ? or perhaps you should just quietly smoke another rock?

Bruce B.

Hi Bruce,

Thanks for the letter. You know, it doesn't matter what it says on page 58 of the Big Book; A.A. still does not have a 100% success rate. The only way you can possibly make that claim is by playing extreme word games with qualifiers:

  1. We will only count those people who "really tried", or
  2. We will only count those people who "keep coming back", or
  3. We will only count those people who "worked the Steps right", or
  4. We will only count those people who "thoroughly followed our path", or
  5. We will only count those people who were able to be "rigorously honest" (not "born constitutionally dishonest with themselves"), or
  6. We will only count those people who didn't "hold something back in their Fifth Step", or
  7. We will only count those people who quit drinking and stayed sober.

That is just the standard old propaganda tricks of Lying With Qualifiers and Observational Selection — i.e., "Cherry Picking".

What page 58 of the Big Book really proves is that Bill Wilson was a skilled propagandist, and that he knew how to do Enron-style accounting. (Just transfer all of your losses off of the books and hide them somewhere else.)

You claim that

there are millions of people right now who are remaining sober for lifetimes as the direct result of implementing the principles contained in the 12 steps.

That is the grandiose Big Lie of Alcoholics Anonymous. They routinely make that claim but that is not true at all. If you think that it is true, then please show me the documentation.

  1. What study, survey, or poll established that the Alcoholics Anonymous program had caused that many people to quit drinking and stay sober?

  2. And how many millions was that, exactly? Michael did a great analysis of that grand claim. You should read it.

  3. How many people are there really, after you eliminate all of the duplicates and the people who actually quit drinking before they ever came to A.A., and the people who quit for some other reason, like that they were just sick and tired of being sick and tired, and wanted a better life?

  4. How many people are left after you subtract out the normal rate of spontaneous remission — those people who were going to quit anyway, and didn't actually quit because of the Alcoholics Anonymous program?

  5. How did that study or survey establish a cause-and-effect relationship between doing the 12 Steps and quitting drinking and staying sober?

Oh, and by the way, there are no "principles" in the Twelve Steps. They are cult religion practices that Bill Wilson learned from Frank Buchman and his Oxford Group cult. Read the history of A.A. and the Oxford Group.

And yes, spontaneous remission is real. Thank God for small favors. It would be a Hell on Earth if we were really powerless over alcohol. But we are not, so we can quit drinking alcohol without wasting our lives and our minds on a cult religion. Oh happy day!

Bill Wilson bragged that his magical new 12-Step religion would give people "Heaven on Earth", but he was really offering us a miserable Hell of slavery in a cult. No thanks. Glad I don't have to do that.

I find your extreme anti-intellectual attitude funny. You keep complaining about my education. The truth is, I dropped out of college when I went to Berkeley and changed my major from Biology to LSD in 1966. I did the whole hippie thing, living on a commune in New Mexico and tripping for years.

Fortunately, LSD left me with most of my brain cells intact, and I even managed to rescue a few of them from alcohol. And now you find that to be too educated for your tastes?

Well yeh, of course. In A.A., everybody is supposed to be a blithering idiot -- "Keep It Simple, Stupid!"
Anything above a 6th-grade education is too "intellectual" for Alcoholics Anonymous.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

[2nd letter from Bruce B.:]

Date: Mon, October 31, 2005
Subject: RE: The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment

Thank you for your response. These pages are very helpful. I've not seen anyone spin the AA literature or entirely misquote it to the extent that you have in an effort to make their case. (I am sure that my reply will not meet up to your standards for grammatical correctness, so please spare me the English lesson.)

Standard propaganda trick: Sarcasm and Condescension.

Care to discuss some real facts?
Care to mention some specifics, rather than just smearing with a broad brush?

Since I have learned that it is truly unfair to engage in a battle of wit with an unarmed person, I will reserve further comment. It suffices to say that you have illustrated my point beautifully. Many thanks.

More Sarcasm and Condescension. Don't you have any other strings on your harp?

A wonderful day to you as well.

Hello Bruce,

In your subject line, you refer to the web page on The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment, but you have not talked about a single point or issue there, nor disputed one fact that I presented there.

Would you care to discuss some actual facts, or are you going to just sneer and run?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.

Date: Fri, September 30, 2005
Subject: Idiotic

Your website is full of non-sensical opinions.

You spent a lot of time trying to figure out why AA didnt work for you. Which is really just a way of justifying your drinking.

Hi Thomas,

Thanks for the letter.

And stop right there. That is just the standard A.A. ad hominem attack routine: "Don't ever consider what he has to say; just accuse him of not wanting to quit drinking."

That is baloney.

The truth is, I am just 2 weeks away from my 5th anniversary off of alcohol, and only 5 weeks away from my 5th anniversary off of tobacco. So I don't need any "justification for drinking".

And I never said that "A.A. didn't work for me." What I said is:

I never did the A.A. program. I saw that it was a cult religion, and I walked out. I have never done the 12 Steps. I never had an A.A. sponsor. I don't go to A.A. meetings, and haven't in almost 4 years. I don't believe in the Big Book or Bill Wilson.

Nevertheless, I still have almost 5 years sober.

AA works now and it always has. You are correct (although your exact numbers probably are not) in regards to recovery rates being small.

How can you claim that A.A. works and at the same time admit that the recovery rates are small? And what happens to that small recovery rate when you subtract the normal rate of spontaneous remission from it? Doesn't it go to zero?

Have you read the file on The Effectiveness of the 12-Step Treatment?

But there are a number of those who's best chance is in AA.

Says who?

The only cure is total and complete abstinence from alcohol.

That isn't necessarily true either. It is true of some people, including me, but some other people really can just taper off into moderate drinking. Read about this: Alcoholism and Treatment, Rand Corporation Report R-1739-NIAAA.

Doctors & hospitals worlwide agree that AA has done what they never could, which is why they keep suggesting AA to their alcoholic patients.

What doctors? How many doctors? Are they nutcases like this crazy doctor who declares that if you want to be really happy, you should just stop thinking and "come home" to the A.A. cult?

The last thing I wish to say is that AA does not claim to offer solutions for anything other than alcoholism, including Drug addiction, eating problems, mental dissorders, bi-polarism (whatever that is) etc.... As a matter of fact it's quite the opposite. AA has a singleness of purpose which is to help alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Right, the zillion other 12-Step groups like Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Alateen, Cocaine Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Schizophrenics Anonymous, Prostitutes Anonymous, and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous do that.

I'm sure you've probably received a lot of e-mails like this one, but I want you to know that I wish you well. I'll keep a good thought for you and I hope that one day you'll be a productive and sober member of society, like a lot of good people that I know personally in AA.

Best Regards,

Actually, I wish you well too, and hope that you recover someday.

In the mean time, have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Being surrounded by a group of people who keep telling
**  you that you are powerless over alcohol, and that your
**  will power is useless, is not getting "support". It is
**  getting sabotaged.
**  With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.

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